Marc Kammarman, CEO of Selling That Works, recently sat down with Eric Verdi of Frederick Advice Givers for an interview. Marc’s full interview can be found on YouTube, but here is part one (of two) for your reading pleasure!
Marc Kammarman: Recognize the responsibility that you have when you’re trying to have an impact on people. When you’re trying to change people’s behavior. When you’re trying to give people an opportunity to better themselves.
Eric Verdi: That was Marc Kammarman with Selling That Works. This is episode 100 of Frederick Advice Givers. I’m Eric Verde and I appreciate you tuning in to this week’s episode. So, I was debating, you know, 100 episodes we’ve been doing it two years now, for a little over two years. Are we going to have balloons and cakes for everybody or are we just going to keep plugging along. I thought it was best to go in the spirit of advice givers and keep plugging along so I am thrilled that Mark is joining us for our 100th episode. Marc, can you hear me?
Marc: I sure can and thanks for having me here Eric.
Eric: I am super stoked to talk about Selling That Works. In a pre-interview, we got to touch base and got to meet each other. We had not met before. We had a couple mutual friends but your story really compels me and I think what you’re doing to help other businesses is awesome. But before we talk about you professionally Marc, in a few minutes, give our listeners and myself your backstory. Where did you grow up? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? And then what did you do before Selling That Works?
Marc: I grew up in New Britain, Connecticut, twelve miles south of Hartford. When I grew up, it was the hardware capital of the world. That’s where Stanley Tools were manufactured. The office is still there but the tools are being made in Mexico. I grew up with a mother. My father passed away when I was five years old. I have no memories of him and school was a struggle for me. Back then, in the 1950s, if they had today’s technology, I clearly would’ve been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, a learning disability. But back then, they just thought I couldn’t sit still or they just thought I didn’t want to do well in school. So, school was always a struggle for me. I managed to get through high school. I had an uncle that owned a chain of drug stores in Connecticut and wanted me to be a pharmacist. He somehow got me into Mass College of Pharmacy. I didn’t last a semester there between physics and chemistry and botany and zoology. So, I made my way to a school in Franklin, Massachusetts called Dean Junior College and for some reason, I just felt comfortable there and got through two years at Dean Junior College. Then I transferred to American University in Washington D.C and have been in the area ever since the mid 60s. Before school was difficult and I didn’t have any direction. I didn’t have any goals and I’m not even sure I took school seriously. But my first year at American University which would’ve been second semester sophomore or first semester junior, I saw an ad and I needed money desperately. So, I saw an ad for selling encyclopedias. I’m sure not one listener out there knows what an encyclopedia is but let me tell you, you went door to door knocking on doors selling encyclopedias. I did a pretty good job of that and that’s when I fell in love with selling. I saw a connection with what skill sets I had and what selling required. So, I got through with American University. My first job in 1967 was with a professional soccer team, The Washington Whips. It was the first professional league, the North American Soccer League. I was there for two years before it collapsed and then I got my first selling job. I sold office furniture for fourteen years. I got married right out of college. I have three kids – a daughter and identical twin boys. Things for some reason just didn’t work out. I got divorced in 1981. I was single for 23 years. I got remarried in 2004. I lived in Rockville for all those years and one of my clients, I was doing a negotiation seminar in Toronto and they had their international team in. One of the members of their team was from Brazil and we met and had a long-distance relationship for three and a half years. In 2004, I married someone that clearly changed my life Eric. Not only personally, you know, experiencing an incredible feeling of love and being loved but professionally. In the last twelve years, my business had skyrocketed and a big part of it is because of being peaceful and happy. So that’s a little bit about my backstory.
Eric: That’s awesome. So, you’ve been a salesperson basically your entire life. So how do you go from doing sales, selling furniture to finding and starting a company, Selling That Works, and then we’ll go into what Selling That Works does. So how did you transition from being in the business to teaching the business?
Marc: I worked for an office furniture company for 14 years. From 1967 to 1981. Started with them and was doing pretty well. Just after I got divorced, I got fired from my job. There was a new manager and for some reason, we didn’t connect. Just like that, I got fired. I had six jobs over the next two years. I couldn’t find anything that I liked. I sold carpet, I sold Xerox machines and I had just floundered. I had taken a sales training program at the office furniture company. A company called Self-Management out of Columbia, Maryland. I called the guy and I went to work for him. In one year, this was like 1984, in one year, I made $4,000. That’s all I made. I was deep in debt. I couldn’t make a living doing it and I decided that if I was going to go down, I was going to go down on my own. So, I went into business for myself. I woke up one Monday morning and took out the yellow pages and started calling companies and this is what I would say to them: “Hi I’m Marc Kammarman, President of Kammarman and Associates. We’re a company that specializes in working with companies to improve sales and profits and I was wondering what would be more convenient for you, tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon.” So, I was on the phone for five days and I couldn’t get one appointment. I finally got ahold of a guy at People Security Bank. It’s no longer around, I’m sure they’ve been bought out several times but it was towards Landover, Maryland. I got an appointment with them and I didn’t have any material. I just listened to what he said he wanted and that’s how I got in business in 1985. From there, I worked with the American Management Association. Anybody that’s ever taken an AMA seminar, it’s their material but they hire facilitators to do it. So, I did that and then a company out of Chicago called Persuasive Communications, a consulting firm that was in sales training and they made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I went to work for them and I worked for them for ten years. At the end of ten years, I was making the company a lot more money than I was making. I just felt it was time so I decided that I was gonna open Selling That Works. I brought a partner along that did the marketing for us and that’s how I began the business. I just celebrated my 22nd anniversary of being an owner.
That’s all for now! Check back next month for the second (and final) installment of Marc’s interview, featuring Eric’s “Minute to Win It” segment!